Heinkel He 59

He 59 Air Sea Rescue Aircraft. [1]

Origin Ernst Heinkel AG, Marienehe; production subcontracted to Walter Bachmann AG, Ribnitz; also some built under license (About 1935) by Arado Flugzeugwerke
Type Multi-Role Seaplane
Engine Two 660 hp 12-Cylinder water cooled vee BMW VI
Span 77 ft. 9.5 in. (23.70m)
Length 57 ft. 1.75 in. (17.40m)
Height 23 ft. 3.75in. (7.10m)
Empty 13,702 lbs. (6,215kg)
Loaded 19,842 lbs. (9,000kg)
Speed 134 mph (215km/h)
Service Ceiling 11,480ft (3,500m) [2]
Range (with max fuel): 1,087 miles (1,750km)
Armament Three or four 7.92mm MG 15 (later MG 81) manually aimed from bow, dorsal, and ventral positions. Many subtypes carried at least one 20mm MG FF. Most B-2 variants had provisions for 2,205 lbs. (1000kg) of mines, bombs, and other ordnance.
First Flight September, 1931
End of Production c. 1936
End of service after 1943
Operators Germany
Number Produced

Though one of the first warplanes built by Germany after WWI, the He-59 proved to be extremely versatile and useful long after it was "obsolete". So much so that in 1943, even though their numbers had dwindled, no less than 18 units still operated various models of He 59. These units used this venerable aircraft for such missions and mining, ground attack, rescue, transport, electronic warfare and psy-war missions. The He 59 served with the Kondor legion as a bomber and in 1940 ten He 59C-2 rescue transport were used to fly 60 troops to the Waal at Rotterdam to capture the bridges there.[1]

Apperance in Piece of CakeEdit

The NovelEdit

In august 1940, Yellow Section - 'Moggy' Cattermole and "Nim" Renouf were scrambled by Snowball in pursuit of a single aircraft flying northwest of Dover. After almost half an hour flying back and forth over East Kent, Cattermole spotted a He-59 preparing to rescue the crew of a Messerschmitt Bf-110 which had crashed in the English Channel.[3] After getting his windscreen covered by blood and feathers from a seagull flying into his prop, Cattermole pulled away and ordered Renouf to destroy the Heinkel, which burst into flames.[4]

When 'Baggy' Bletchley visited Hornet Squadron that evening to inspect the squadron's aircraft, he confirmed the orders to destroy German Red Cross aircraft, as they were used to snoop on convoys and intercept Allied radio transmissions, but advised the squadron to keep quiet about it, as the public might not understand.[5]

The MiniseriesEdit

Due to non-availability of a Heinkel He-59, the sequence of the attack on the Red Cross aircraft featured a Junkers Ju-52



  1. 1.0 1.1 Warbird Resource Group
  2. Kay, Anthony. Page 122.
  3. Robinson, Derek. 1983. Pages 499-500
  4. Robinson, Derek. 1983. Page 501
  5. Robinson, Derek. 1983. Pages 503-504


  • Kay, Anthony. German Aircraft of the Second World War
  • Piece of Cake